A YEAR ago, five friends were involved in a head-on crash which left all of them needing hospital treatment.

The group was heading to Milton Keynes for a night out when driver Matthew Evans misjudged overtaking a lorry.

The young people were taken to different hospitals, with Megan Cooper, 19, of Andover, who was in the worst condition taken to the trauma unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.

She was there for several weeks after suffering back and internal injuries.

Mr Evans, who broke a shoulder and foot and suffered facial injuries, was later convicted of careless driving and banned for four months.

Then last November, Mr Evans’ friend James Pearson, 21, of Fencott, near Bicester, suffered head injuries after he was struck by a car in Fencott Road, between Fencott and Charlton-on-Otmoor.

He was also treated at the JR’s trauma unit and was in hospital for almost a month.

And when Mr Evans reached his milestone 21st birthday, he decided to dedicate it to raising cash for the unit through the Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals Charitable Funds charity.

Instead of presents he asked for donations, and persuaded a host of local businesses to donate prizes to a raffle, which was held during his 21st birthday party on Friday, at the Highfield Social Club in Bicester.

His mother Judith Byfield, of Buckingham Road, Bicester, said: “It obviously affected him that he wanted to do this.

“His friends who were in the car accident have been very supportive throughout the year and they know it wasn’t his fault.

“Obviously, he did something and he has paid the price for it.

“As a parent you never want to receive that phone call and then you feel guilty because it was your son that did that.

“This last year has been an emotional roller coaster ride for everyone involved.”

Mr Evans, who works at Bicester Village and celebrated his birthday on August 27, said: “Megan and James were both treated by the trauma unit and I just appreciate all the work they do there.

“These two friends were very close to me, and there have been other occasions where friends and family have been treated at the JR. I felt my birthday was a good opportunity to raise a lot of money for a good cause.

“It has been a tough year, but the anniversary has gone by and thankfully everyone is alive and well.”

The party raised about £500 with more expected to be collected.

To donate to the fund, go to justgiving.com/Mati-Evans